All About Surfing

  • Surfing Builds Character

    Whether you’re surfing on the North Shore of Oahu or skimboarding ankle biters, any experienced surfer can tell you that surfing isn’t a sport that comes with an easy benchmark for success. Put into practice first by high-born Polynesians, the surfing tradition has evolved as the centuries have, calling on generations of participants to learn the patience that comes with waiting for just the right wave and the select combination of skill and intuition..

    The fundamental truth of surfing is this: Unlike politics and investment banking, you’re unlikely to reach those lofty peaks with only yourself in mind.

    Engaging with the Sea

    The best surfers learn early that, with respect for the wave comes respect for the ocean – at least in part because the sport itself is entirely contingent on nature's cooperation. If the waters are choked with trash, if the wind isn't moving, if any number of interdependent factors fail to come together at the right moment, no amount of skill on the board can change the outcome.

    Though every surfer hopes for the chance to snag a snapshot moment on a high wave, the chance means waiting – sometimes for hours or even days – and accepting no certainty of reward at the end.

    Going Green

    With the ocean currently under threat from an increasing litany of issues directly relating to change, including rising seas and pollution, surfers have begun to come together with astonishing political power. Several groups have called for cleaner beaches and a stronger movement to halt sea level rise – which continues to contribute to erosion in a growing number of communities, whose members are even now watching the stunning landscapes that once put them on the map slip irretrievably away.

    One such community is the Save Trestles Campaign, which took action against plans to construct a road that would have endangered San Mateo Creek – a popular surfing spot and thriving habitat for marine animals. Other groups have singlehandedly, and often successfully, tackled environmentally destructive development plans and pollution, saving beaches and wild animals from habitat loss.

    Staying Safe

    Of course, no surfer enters the water without the deeply held understanding that any wrong move can mean injury and even death – for themselves and bystanders. Surprisingly, attacks by marine animals are among the most common causes of injury, followed by wipe-outs on sand or rocky outcroppings.

    A surfer who's miscalculated the energy and breadth of a wave can also easily be swept underneath, held down by a surging current, or knocked unconscious by a falling surfboard, all of which can lead to drowning or serious injury.

    In the communal environment inherent to beach life, it’s nearly impossible, and always conspicuous, to surf without the safety of others in mind. Established beach etiquette, though still largely unspoken, arose as American surf culture did in the 1960s, as popular beaches became increasingly crowded and chaotic. The rules, though they vary by location and culture, are strictly enforced by most beach-goers, and those eager to cut corners for a shot at glory will often find themselves outnumbered.

    Surfers also use shorthand to define the right of way in the water, and a line order that everyone is expected to follow while paddling out. The system is simple, but it works, ensuring that everyone in the water understands where to expect other surfers to appear and how to avoid them when necessary. Fewer injuries are typically reported at beaches with a cohesive system of rules, and, as a community, surfers have proven more than willing to embrace them.

    Down to Mindset

    Balancing over hundreds of feet of crashing water takes more than an afternoon of practice to master, which is largely why so many experienced surfers paddle out at nearly every available moment. Persistence is the key to mastery.

    And persistence means falling hundreds, sometimes thousands of times, often in front of spectators, and running the gantlet of emotions that go hand in hand with continuous failure. And still, the best of the best are those still willing to get up, dust themselves off, and paddle right back out for another try. Like so many other difficult tasks in life, it usually is not enough to suffer a public fall only once.

    With everything in the water in constant flux, nailing a perfect run means cultivating the ability to think far past the moment, without ever letting outside distractions in. As new contingencies evolve by the moment, even pitch-perfect accuracy and positioning isn't always enough, and, in many cases, success comes down to hard-won practice, and the ability to suffer with grace the consequences of wrong actions.

    The Art of Technique

    Surfing techniques, from the standard paddle to the more visually stunning front side snap, are nearly as individual as surfers themselves are. Those who stick with the sport often choose to brand themselves with signature moves, such as Australian champion Tyler Wright—who famously made the Big Frontside Kick her own. It's a recognized mark of a professional, to be able to bring a spark of creative flair to a sport that requires so much intensive focus. Generations of surfers – both pro and those at an amateur level – have upped the ante for newcomers by imbuing the sport with a healthy sense of creative, as well as physical, competition.

    Final Thoughts

    In any sport with a diverse range of participants, equipment selection often comes down to skill and often requires a helping hand from a professional in the know. Surfing is a great sport. Not only is it fun and a great way to remain in shape, but it can also help build character. Respect for nature and yourself remains an essential element of surfer culture.

  • Surfing for Total Health

    “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

    -Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986.

    Everything is about speed today: how fast can a project get finished, how fast can I drive, how fast is the wireless internet? So much speed and efficiency and yet nothing ever seems to get finished. So many questions, so few answers. To some degree even our vacations seem to be stuck on fast-forward: rush to the airport, hurry to a hotel, get to the buffet, the show, the tour bus on time. So much scheduling and stress - is it any wonder that so many Americans are medicated nowadays? We are just not designed for this much unabated hustle.

    Even worse, we can make the time we DO carve out to invest in ourselves equally stressful. Exercise has long been a universally agreed-upon option for reducing stress, but so many forms of exercise are both competitive and anxiety-inducing. We are so organized, we take away the spontaneity and joy of the pursuit. Instead of running outside in nature, we’re on a treadmill multi-tasking (reading a magazine, listening to a podcast or TV) or taking on gigantic though admirable challenges like a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Sprint.  As a culture, we just don’t seem to be able to just let go. Life moves too fast - it did for Ferris Bueller back in 1986 and it certainly hasn’t gotten any slower.

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    Finding an activity that blends the exercise our bodies need with the soothing discipline our minds require seems nearly impossible - until you look out to the ocean. In the water, free and unplugged from the distractions of our digital world, surfing may be a near perfect stress reducer for modern Americans. More than just a sport, surfing is a beautifully logical counter to the strains of the modern world. The benefits of surfing for both body and mind are extensive, having been proven to be an effective whole-body workout coupled with outdoor meditation.

    At www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au, they approach total health and wellness by taking small steps each day to exercise. They go on to say that going to the gym or playing a sport is even more important to boost overall health such as a stronger immune system and improved heart and lung function. Surfing, among other water sports, is physical and mental exercise, truly promoting total body health.

    The common parental refrain to children everywhere of “Go outside!” shouldn’t be forgotten as we become adults ourselves. Outside adventures with fresh air, room to move, along with time to just think or create never lose their value. As great as the ‘Great Outdoors’ can be, there is perhaps no better outdoors than that found seaside, on the beach or in the ocean itself.

    Time spent seaside has often been lauded as a great improver of disposition. Sheer proximity to something so enormous helps provide perspective, the sounds of the ocean is a natural white noise to calms our senses and quiet our mind, and even modern science is starting to investigate the impact that negative ions produced by the ocean have to lift our spirits.

    Simply spending time at the beach affords moments for mindfulness. Surfing takes that to next level. Surfing requires you to pay attention to the sky, the wind, the waves. Focus is required to be able to read the world around you, from current patterns and wave formation to the angle of the sun and weather changes. The accumulated mental hubbub and chatter we carry to the ocean have no place there, for distraction will get you a face full of seaweed or an unexpected cold dunking.

    Surfing teaches patience and keen observation skills, and rewards them with a glorious adrenaline rush. Waiting, adrift, while watching for that one perfect wave to come narrows your focus down to the purity of being absolutely in a moment. It engages all the senses, from the taste and smell of saltwater to the sound of crashing waves and the calling of gulls.

    The shading of sunlight on water surrounds you, and physical sensations abound: cold or warm water, pulling currents, the board under you. Nothing comes with you except what you absolutely need: no excess gear, no thoughts, and especially no cell phone or other digital tether. A whole wide world of clamor narrows down to waiting for the next wave and solving the problem of how to ride it best. In short, the soothing elements taught in stress management classes are all waiting for you out there on the water. All you have to do is engage with the environment to disengage from the fast lane.

    Developing a passion for surfing and a healthy addiction to the accompanying Zen peacefulness also have satellite benefits that cascade into aspects of everyday life. Surfing is a sport that chases the dawn, so being up early gives surfers a chance to go out and play well before any work or school commitments have a chance to cloud our minds. Starting the day with a brisk, fun activity makes the rest of the day run more smoothly, fueled by a greater perspective and natural endorphins.

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    As a demanding and very physical activity, food and diet become essential to getting the best out of any given trip because a body must be fueled well for optimum performance. The exertion also counteracts one of the most diabolical aspects of stress in the modern world: insomnia. Peaceful yet exhilarating, surfing is a full body workout coupled with intensive meditative concentration. Together these components help to provide a deeper, more rejuvenating, and restful sleep, a sleep that allows you to greet the dawn on your board morning after morning with vigor.

    It is just as important to support a full body workout on the surf with the right equipment, such as protective clothing and leashes. Maximizing your workout is easier to do when you are comfortable and protected from burns, rashes and scrapes.

    Examined as a whole, the benefits of surfing coalesce swiftly into an argument as convincing and inevitable as the tides. Nature. Meditation. Exercise. Awareness. Escape. Ferris Bueller was right - if you don't slow down, life is easy to miss- but it can also be one amazing and enjoyable ride, where hard work and a mind at ease allow the balance we find on a surfboard to find its way into the rest of our day.

  • Surfing Songs: The Best Surfing Inspired Music

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    Out on the water, the only soundtrack you have is the ebb and flow of the waves pulsing through your ears. On land, however, you have a little more control over the music that inspires and fuels your surfing. If you’re searching for a bit of inspiration, whether your time is spent dreaming of surfing or just relaxing on the beach, we’ve got a number of suggestions for you!

    Dick Dale, “Miserlou”

    You likely recognize this tune from its role in 1994’s Pulp Fiction, or its use as a sample in The Black Eyed Peas’ “Pump It.” But Dale’s song, and indeed his whole repertoire, has been iconic enough to earn him the title “King of Surf Rock.” Dale and his Del-Tones formed in the early 1950s and played the lion’s share of the songs that formed the genre during that time. Though their style evolved to focus more on cars than surfing in the sixties and seventies, Dale returned to it in a solo career later on. Despite advanced age (at the time of publication, Dale was nearly eighty) and a host of medical issues, he continues to tour and delight audiences with distinct guitar licks and liberal use of a whammy bar.

    The Ventures, “Hawaii Five-O”

    In addition to giving us one of the most iconic TV theme songs, The Ventures are one of the most popular instrumental rock groups of all time. The song charted in the top five in 1969, although this was far from their only chart success. In fact, they had 37 albums hit the charts between 1960 and 1972a staggering total even today. Their name was a verbal representation of the genre-hopping they were willing to do to stay inspired, and they proved highly prolific as a result. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, and occasionally still tour with a modified lineup.

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    The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

    It may not have the immediate surf appeal of “Surfin’ USA” or “Surfin Safari,” but Pet Sounds solidifies the exceptional nature of The Beach Boys as a band. The groundbreaking album from the Beach Boys celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2016, and continues to have an impact on longtime fans and newer listeners alike. The band’s eleventh studio release, it features some of their most popular songs, including “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B,” and “God Only Knows,” a song Paul McCartney once deemed the best song ever written. Their breezy, beach-inspired sound captures the energy of the best beach days, and gives you hope for channeling their genius into your time on the water.

    Weezer, Blue Album

    What The Beach Boys did for surf-inspired music in the sixties, Weezer may have done for the nineties. Their Blue Album hit upon surfing themes directly with songs like “Surf Wax America,” and even recreated the sock-hop craze that shared a time period with surf films in their video for “Buddy Holly.” The gentle but intricate lead guitar work that you hear through the music of the prior artists shows up, courtesy of frontman Rivers Cuomo. Give this album a listen while en route to the beach, or even while cleaning your board after a long day of surfing.

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    Jack’s Mannequin, “Holiday from Real”

    The opening strains of Everything in Transit evokes memories of the beach, with the blowing wind and gentle squawk of seagulls. From there, lead singer and pianist Andrew McMahon launches into this song about spending time with friends near the beach, living a life that feels like a getaway. Those of us who use surfing as a getaway from a hectic or less peaceful life undoubtedly identify with this message. The rest of the album takes an emotional and less escapist trajectory, but its opening song was just made for a carefree trip to the beach.

    Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”

    Especially when shredding in the barrel of a roaring wave, the world can feel like it’s upside down when we’re out on the water. Jack Johnson’s quiet twangy “Upside Down” captures that with a combined bounciness and stillness that feels like the right song to play in your head as you catch a wave and prepare to ride it to shore. Especially when you make it to your feet, and the rush of euphoria washes over you, it’s easy to think what Jack repeats toward the end of the song: “I don’t want this feeling to go away.”

    This is far from a comprehensive list, but we hope it’ll get you started in building your playlist. Have suggestions on what to add? Let us know in the comments!

  • Surfing on Screen: TV and Movie Surfing Favorites

    Our first priority is generally to be at the beach. The sunshine, the waves, the feel of the sandit all just feels right. But, sometimes, that’s not always in the cards. Whether we’re landlocked, nursing an injury, or weather has gotten in the way of our perfect beach day, sometimes we have to stay inside.

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    However, those days can still include surfing through movie (and TV!) magic. We’re sharing a few of our favorites to add to your queue or search for online.

    The Endless Summer (1966)

    The seminal documentary on surfing by filmmaker Bruce Brown, The Endless Summer follows surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave; its title refers to the extensive travel required to surf year-round. Beautifully photographed and intimate in its feel, you’ll love the spirit of this film, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year.

    Riding Giants (2004)

    Three years after his heartfelt and energetic documentary on skateboarding, Dogtown and Z-Boys, director Stacy Peralta turned his eye and camera toward a different board sport: surfing. Riding Giants shares current testimony on the sport, with footage and interviews about its history. Peralta is a painstaking filmmaker, and you will learn a staggering amount about the sport as a result. This one will have you itching to catch waves once it’s done.

    Gidget (1959)

    Admittedly, this 50s-era Sandra Dee vehicle (which later inspired a Sally Field-starring TV show) has a different tone from the films already listed. However, it can be fun to look at the image surfing had in earlier daysone of rebellion and slight dangerand what effects that image had on naive young teenagers. This pick is definitely a sillier one, but still worth a watch at least once.

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    Point Break (1991)

    In the early nineties, it would appear that surfing still had a reputation for rebellion. Point Break capitalized on that assumption with its story about an undercover FBI agent who works his way into a surfer gang, hoping to connect them to a string of bank robberies. Among the best of Patrick Swayze’s movies, it also stars Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, and Lori Petty. A remake was released in 2015 ... but you can go ahead and skip that one.

    Blue Crush (2002)

    Although Gidget does surf in her movies, relatively few movies focus on female surfers. In 2002, Blue Crush provided a change to the formula. Starring Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, and Matthew Davis, it tells the story of a talented surfer preparing for the Pipe Masters competition with a distraction on her mindquarterback Matt Tollman. Although the film has its stereotypical teen film moments, it also features skilled action sequences of surfers, and is worth watching for those moments, too.

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    Surf’s Up (2007)

    The surfers in Surf’s Up are also preparing for a major competitionthe Penguin World Surfing competition. Released during the height of a “penguin craze” in the U.S., this animated “mockumentary” features the voice talents of Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, and real-life human surfers Kelly Slater and Rob Machado. This is another silly way to spend a rainy afternoon, and may be particularly entertaining for younger kids still building enthusiasm to take on the waves for themselves.

    BONUS: Drunk History, “Hawaii” (2014)

    If you’re looking for a short story about the history of surfing ... told by someone who vaguely knows what they’re saying, check out Comedy Central’s Drunk History. A season 2 episode focusing on stories in Hawaii details the brief feud that took place between surfers in Hawaii and ones from Australia. Surfer Eddie Aikau is shown brokering a “peace treaty” of sorts between the two factions over a mutual respect for the sport. There’s some explicit language on this one, so we don’t recommend watching it with kids or at work.

    We’re always wishing for the next beach day, and for conditions that favor time among the waves. In the meantime, we hope these picks will keep you entertained and inspired until the next surf outing arrives.

  • Swim Suits for Every Body Type

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    Whether you need an easier way to manage your shipping or track your sales, there is an extension that can help your business grow. Here are the top ten free extensions that will allow you to make your online store do more without burning a hole in your pocket:

    Most Common Fitting Types

    Small Chest?

    No problem. This is a fairly easy fix and usually you can find a plethora of suits with ruffling or a little extra padding to give you some extra oomph. You can also choose string bikini styles; though they are a bit more revealing, they can add shape where one piece suits wouldn't. Go for color, like bright patterns. Combined with ruffles, ruching or padding, your figure will look much fuller.

    Bigger than a C?

    Stay away from the ruffles. With your ample chest, adding ruffles or padding will only allow your chest to enter the pool area before you do. Don't choose sizes like S, M, or L – to give the support your girls need to look their best, find tops that have actual bra sizes. Thicker straps and molded cups can offer more support, keeping the girls in place while you swim or play water sports. Bralette styles are extremely flattering and perfect for surfing, too.

    Small Top, Curvy Bottom?

    This is the typical “pear shape” of the fashion world, but, for you, let's simplify to find you the best suit. Ideally, you want to draw the eyes to your top while flattering your curves. Choose low cut or decorative tops with feminine additions like bows and ruffles. To minimize your lower half, pick out a suit with a skirt that falls just below the widest part of your thigh. Steer clear of boy shorts and thick banded bottoms, as it won't help you balance your body shape. High cut, full coverage bottoms also can elongate your hips and mid-section, creating the illusion of narrower hips.

    Athletic or Tomboy Figure?

    You are the envy of many women, as most suit styles fit your body type. However, for the most flattering look, you may want to check out feminine, flouncy type swim wear. In your case, less is more, so string bikinis with floral patterns and side ties add more curves to your figure. Monokinis or strategic cutouts in one piece suits can add curves exactly where you need and want them.

    Want to Hide Your Tummy?

    There are a variety of suit styles to choose from if you want to hide any extra weight in your middle, often referred to as the “apple shape.” You can go one piece or tankini, high waisted or swim dress, and flatter your figure. Go for a plunging neckline to keep the focus up and away from your tummy, or you can choose a suit with ruching in the middle, which hides any bulges in the gathered material.

    Uncommonly Common Figures

    Built Like a Linebacker?

    If you have broad shoulders, this can make finding a swimsuit that draws compliments challenging, but one of the prettiest looks is the asymmetrical, one shoulder top. Because of your awesome shoulders, you carry this look perfectly while keeping the focus looking to the side instead of taking in your breadth. Choose a solid colored suit or one with prints along the sides to enhance an hourglass shape to your body.

    Booty Lacking?

    Some women choose suits with full coverage thinking the more material, the bigger their behind will look, when in fact it's the opposite. You were blessed with a small behind, and you get to show it off with higher cut, cheeky bottoms. Pick out a loud print or vibrant color to give the illusion of a bigger bottom.

    Ample Backside?

    Minimizing your rear can be done in several ways, such as solid colored bottoms with printed tops. This creates a balanced body look. Also, picking something with full coverage as opposed to skimpy or string suits will make you feel more comfortable. Skirted suits also offer a fun, flirty look while keeping your bottom covered.

    Got Love Handles?

    Who doesn't hate these annoying tidbits? The best way to tuck them away is to wear a high-waist suit. The key is to choose one that comes up above your belly button so that you can avoid the other dreaded look, the muffin top. Loose cut tankinis can help provide coverage as well, giving you a fun look for the beach.

    Short Body, Long Legs?

    Extend the look of your torso with two tips – wearing a low rise bottom combined with a halter top. This will make the appearance of your torso being longer than it is. Showing more skin and maximizing the flattering look in the right suit, and you will be rocking the beach!

    Looking for a Flat, Smooth Back?

    It's tough to hide back fat in a swim suit, since most of them are geared toward showing more skin, especially in the back. To hide these extra folds, choose a suit with wide straps, as the thin ones will only dig into your skin and create more folds than you have. Also, choose a one piece with a high back for a sleek, sexy look that will be sure to turn heads in the surf.

    Short Legs?

    Suits with high cut bottoms will extend your legs to look longer. If you also happen to have a long torso, choose two separate colors for top and bottom to cut the length of your body. Combined with the high cut bottom, you will even out your body shape.

    Burnin' Up?

    The sun is cruel to those with fair skin, and especially so if you love being out on the water or hanging out on the beach for the day. Try a rash guard, which comes in all kinds of fun colors and patterns. It will protect your skin from the sun, and from any harsh rocks if you roughhouse in the water.

    When you head out to your favorite store to pick out your new summer look, be sure to try on a variety of suits. It's always best to find as many different designers as possible, as the sizes and styles may vary slightly from season to season. Remember that suits stretch out when they are wet, so, if you are in doubt as to the size, go smaller. Snug fitting suits always look better, especially when wet. Happy shopping!

  • Surfing in Any Season: An Introduction to Indoor Surfing

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    Even those of us who live in the most idyllic of locations aren’t always able to surf whenever we’d like. Daily life and its obligations get in the way; we have to allow time for rest and injury rehabilitation; andthe least manageable of variablesthe weather doesn’t always cooperate.

    What are we to do during long spells of rain, snow, or the threat of hurricanes? Yes, there are fitness classes that mimic the moves and physical feel of surfing, but the environmental feel of the stoke and euphoria of being out on the water is noticeably absent from these offerings. While our bodies feel the benefits, our hearts and minds aren’t tricked so easily. Luckily, in the last few years, a formidable and frothy alternative is gaining in popularity: indoor surfing.

    The advent of wave machines and artificial waves is allowing indoor surfing to scratch that itch, while reducing the role weather plays in our decision making. Effortlessly simulating the swells we spend so long chasing out in the ocean, indoor surfing is an efficient way to get out on the water, without actually getting out on the water.

    How It Works

    Indoor surfing locations are typically powered by SurfStream technology, a standing wave machine designed to vary the types and intensity of waves available, making it easy for surfers of multiple degrees of experience to participate safely.

    SkyVenture, a New Hampshire-based indoor adventure park, is one user of the SurfStream system, marketing it to prospective consumers as an experience that lets you use a real board while learning skills that are transferable to the real-life waves when the time comes. In fact, the waves they produce are so realistic, they are able to host indoor surfing competitions using this equipment.

    Selecting a Location

    As with any indoor adventure location, you should seek out locations that not only have exciting offerings, but which also have strong safety protocols and procedures demonstrated through their marketing and informational efforts. Do they list for whom these activities are safe or unsafe? If you have questions or concerns, is contact information readily available?

    Consider, also, restrictions that these facilities may have in place for age (do you have especially young surfers with you?), size, or time. Are the facilities you’re considering able to accommodate you? Look for locations that have staff who are willing to answer these questions with a smile and the information you’re looking for.

    How Does It Feel?

    It can be hard to believe that an indoor surfing experience could be anything like the real thing. Lenny Nichols of the Eastern Surfing Association of Northern New England has said as much after trying these machines, remarking that indoor surfing “isn’t meant to replace outdoor surfing; it’s a complement.” However, for many years the same was true of indoor skydiving experiences, and now the popularity of those excursions rivals that of its outdoor predecessor. And, indeed, the same could gradually be coming true for indoor surfing. Using real boards, and waves real enough to facilitate competitive surfing, we may be getting close to an all-season alternative to open water that satisfies even the most discerning of surfers.

    At an April 2016 indoor surfing competition held in Quebec (an area not typically known for its fostering of surf culture), Cheyne Magnusson seemed impressed. “The performances from amateurs of all ages and the top pros who traveled north of the border were totally epic and the atmosphere was electric all day long,” he shared. He went on to say, “It was rad to see how surf culture can thrive in a freezing, landlocked, area of the world!”

    It is that added benefitthat of accessibility―which may be where indoor surfing facilities and technology will provide the most benefit. Those that live on the coast near high-quality waves and frequent access may not exercise this option unless their standard options are taken offline by environmental concerns.

    For frequently cold, landlocked, or otherwise surf-challenged areas, the availability of indoor surfing locations could open up access to the sport for those otherwise “closed off” to the opportunity. And, who knows? In years to come, we could see surf champions who got their start, or maintain world-class skill, through training at these facilities. For now, we urge you to give them a try and see what the increasing hype is all about.

  • Surf Your Way to the Ultimate Beach Body

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    What are you looking forward to this summer? Maybe it’s the weather. Or, perhaps, it’s your soon-approaching vacation. You might not even have a specific thing in mind, but your wish is to simply try something new; you just aren’t sure what exactly that is, yet.

    This summer, accomplish something you can be proud of. Since the temperatures are hot, a water sport would be ideal. Why not take up surfing? The sport definitely has its challenges, and it will keep you busy all summer long. But, once you get a hang of it, you will feel so accomplished to see your patience and hard work pay off. Plus, you might just learn that the surfer lifestyle is something worthwhile to incorporate into your life.

    Oh, and if those weren’t reasons enough: If anything, you’ll walk away with a killer physique. That’s a pretty sweet deal, especially right in the middle of bathing suit season. It’s no secret that surfers are in great shape.

    Surfing is a high-performance sport that requires endurance, strength, and balance. If you don’t already have these, you quickly will see how fast your body tones up after just a few surf sessions. If you’re already in good shape, you might find that it works different muscle groups than what you’re used to. Plus, it makes for a nice change in your fitness routine.

    Surf Your Way to a Healthier You

    If you’re looking for a fun way to get in shape, surfing may be just the activity for you! Have you always wanted a tight core? What about toned arms? Maybe you just want a strong physique. Surfing can give you all of those, and more!

    It’s not just fun to hang out in the water; it’s an incredible workout. In fact, an hour of surfing can burn up to 125 calories. Keep in mind, this number depends on the type of wave. The rougher the waves, the harder you work; therefore, the more you will burn calories.

    Cardio

    Cardio is part of an active lifestyle. There is just no way around it. Regular cardio training will not only help you maintain weight loss, but will improve heart health, increase your metabolism, and help you manage the hormones that reduce stress and fatigue. The paddling and swimming involved in surfing will get your heart pumping, giving you a great cardio workout.

    All-over body strength

    Pro surfers make their graceful movements look easy, but these don’t just come naturally. Trained and toned muscles are the driving force behind those swift movements. Paddling out into the waves is a killer workout for your shoulders and arms.

    When you stand and ride the waves, your core, legs, and shoulders all contract to help you remain stable on the board. Your body takes a beating, but, over a short amount of time, you will tone and strengthen your entire body – all while having fun! There’s nothing more we could ask from our workout. 

    Flexibility and balance

    The quick transition movements that are required to go from paddling to standing require a great amount of flexibility. Much like yoga, surfing greatly improves flexibility.

    Not to mention, you need balance to transition, as well. While a strong core is key to good balance (which you have just learned you will get from surfing), learning to brace your body while the power of the waves hits your board will enable you to perfect your balance.

    Not Just for a Hot Bod

    While surfing has its obvious perks for your body, the benefits don’t end there. Those who practice the sport reap major psychological advantages as well. Studies have proven that those who surf see a reduction in anxiety, depression, and stress over time.

    Surfers are able to manage and keep these symptoms at bay because, once you’re on the water, all other concerns are forgotten about. You have to give the act of surfing your full attention, so participants experience a relaxing effect that is not too different than what you would get from meditating or practicing mindfulness.

    Is it any wonder that, when you spend your time so close to nature watching the ocean’s natural ebb and flow, you will find a peaceful, calm state of mind take over? While all the paddling and balancing is a killer workout, becoming one with the water works wonders for your mental state.

    Not only are surfers more relaxed, but being so close to the ocean and its varied ecosystems give them an up-close-and-personal look at humanity’s direct effect on our planet. This gives those who surf more of an appreciation for nature and our planet.

    Start Surfing Today

    So, not only will you get a killer workout – and body to prove it – but, as a surfer, you will also experience a calmer state of mind. You will be happier in your life, and experience less of a stressed and anxiety-ridden lifestyle.  Need any more of a reason to pick up the sport this summer? What are you waiting for?

  • Finding Your Best Summer Bathing Suit

    Is there any shopping trip that strikes more fear and frustration into the heart of the shopper, than the journey to find a new bathing suit? Whether we feel prepared to hit the dressing room with our dream picks, or dive into it on a whim, anxiety often abounds, not only about fit and appear-ance, but also about utility and freedom from the threat of ... well, wardrobe malfunctions.

    “Will it fit?” “Will this top stay on if I...?” “How does it look?” “Is it supposed to fit this way?”

    As you venture toward the dressing rooms in search of your next perfect suit, our goal is to equip you with some tips that will quiet the voices in your head that often make this such a difficult choice.

    Above All Things, Keep Hope Alive

    Let’s get the icky part out of the way first: Relatively few of us enjoy that trip to the dressing room, turning tentatively in front of trios of mirrors, in lighting that seems to trick us. We can’t see everything, it’s hard to know how it’ll look outside, and what are you supposed to wear un-derneath when you try it on? (One answer to that last bit: If you know you’ll be trying on bathing suits, wear––or bring along––thong underwear. That’ll be the closest you can get to how you’ll wear it naturally.)

    Why does this process stress people out this way? Well, much of the anxiety in finding a suit comes from the social pressure that accompanies being so exposed. Even though it has been proven women worry far more about themselves than others do, fears of judgment and negative perception persist, and far more people than you know––yes, no matter how fit, toned, or perfect-looking they might seem to you––worry at least a little about these things. This anxiety means you should be all the more determined to find something that you really like.

    SwimsuitsDirect agrees; their number one commandment for finding a bathing suit you love? Don’t settle. “Settling for a suit that’s all right will make you look all right. Get a swimsuit that you love that flatters your body, and you’ll look and feel your best. A swimsuit that’s too small will look terrible on you. Same with one that’s too big. Even if you don’t find anything that day, keep looking until you find something that you do fall in love with.”

    To that end, we were also heartened to hear this advisory note from Audrey Jimenez of Every-thing But Water: “Swimsuit sizing does not strictly correlate to dress size. You will likely wear a size larger than your typical dress size.”

    To quote a great example of confidence and go-for-it-ness, Amy Poehler: “No one looks stupid when they’re having fun.” The best accessory for any outfit, whether you’re wearing it while re-laxing on the sand, or atop a board riding the perfect wave, is an awesome attitude and a mind set on excitement. As long as you’re committed to having fun and enjoying the warm weather in whatever suit you pick, there’s no stopping you!

    So, even with all these tips in mind, how do you find that suit that feels just right, the one that you can confidently hit the beach or the pool in without fear or worry?

    Mix and Match Pieces

    Those of us who have shopped for a suit in the “era of separates” have had this moment: You find a top you love and it fits perfectly ... but you are forced to leave it at the store because the corresponding bottom is nowhere to be found.

    Thankfully, fashion has smiled on us, giving us a loophole by which to bypass such crushing de-feats. The time of having to hunt through your store’s racks for a top that perfectly matches a bottom is done, if you’re bold enough to mix it up. A blend of solids with prints or patterns can help you decide which areas you’d like to highlight or distract from.

    For those who are particularly confident in their arms, bust, or upper body, we’d recommend printed or bright tops to draw the eye upward. Others may want to pull attention downward, away from problem areas or toward toned legs and hips; patterned or bold bottom pieces can achieve this.

    As a bonus: Not needing to match suit pieces can make your bathing suit collection seem far bigger! A patterned top and solid bottom can be reversed the following day or week with a dif-ferent look. If you’re anticipating a summer where you’ll be wearing suits often, the mix-and-match strategy can be an effective way to “stretch” both your budget and imagination during swim season.

    Embrace More Coverage as Desired

    We have already lived through the time when suits that provided more coverage, suffered migh-tily in the aesthetics and fashion department, but no longer! Designers and manufacturers have pivoted to provide fashionable pieces that can also cover areas that we may not be willing or ready to share with our acquaintances near the water. High-waisted suit bottoms can provide coverage and tummy control for those seeking it; additionally, these suits will accentuate the waist and make legs look longer. They are great for balancing shape and pulling attention away from a fuller bust.

    Conversely, longer tops––be they tankinis, or flounced tops with ruffles that extend into the mid-section area––can cover the midsection, while also providing additional visual interest through the draping and ruching of fabric. Should you decide to take this route when selecting swimwear, truly embrace it as a chance to find out which designer techniques and fabric choices feel and look best on you.

    Don’t Forget One Pieces

    Here again, the fashion gods have smiled brightly on those who are more comfortable in, or would prefer the functionality of, one-piece swimsuits. What up until recently was highly specia-lized, or decidedly matronly, has graduated to the upper echelon of fashion. These suits are de-sirable for those wishing to show off an hourglass figure, wanting to hide a tummy, or simply seeking more coverage in their swimwear.

    We love this tip from Eye for Elegance when seeking out a staple of the one-piece collection, the “little black suit”: “Look for one with textural interest and a cut that flatters your body sil-houette.” If you’ve not shopped in this area of the swimwear section in a while, it might surprise you how many options a one piece suit can present––or how sexy, feminine, and fashionable they can be!

    Keep Function in Mind

    As the discussion of one-piece suits comes up, it’s worth mentioning: Pick a suit that fits what you’ll be doing in it. While thin-strapped or elaborate suits may serve you well from your beach chair or towel by the pool, those seeking to be more active in their suits should shop accordingly. Even the newest surfer, paddleboarder, or water skier will want a suit that can stand up to the considerable movement these pursuits require.

    Christine of Love Life Surf shared her struggles in this area as she sought to find a suit that fit her body and her active lifestyle:

    “For the longest time, I would opt for a larger size suit because then it wouldn’t hug my body too tightly and I thought that this would minimize any curves and lumps and bumps. However, once I got into the water, this tendency to size up didn’t help. I learned that if I wanted to be active in the water, I needed a suit that fit properly and fit snuggly [sic].”

    If you know you’ll be taking to the water with extra ferocity this summer, look for halter tops that provide a bit of extra coverage that bikinis or strapless suits don’t, and ensure that the bot-tom is snug. Brands like Roxy and Seafolly, anticipating this need, have created suits that bal-ance a need for function with an eye for fashion. Consider investing in a rash guard as well, both to prevent salt burn and scrapes, and to ensure that tops stay on and in place.

    Incorporate Cover-Ups into the Look

    If you’re a cover-up wearer (no shame, lots of people are!), make them a part of the look you’re cultivating and not just an afterthought. A benefit of the mix and match strategy is the ability to find a color palette to work within when selecting your cover-up. Think, also, about the material they’re made of––how will they react to the moisture and other elements (think salt or chlorine) that they may need to stand up to? Depending on the fabric, a black cover up could be okay for the beach but tougher to keep pristine if exposed to chlorine often.

    Cover-ups can also include shorts or even a billowy Bohemian pant; the former have come a long way since the crinkly, Bermuda-length early releases that continue to dominate men’s swim fashion. Rip Curl, in particular, is giving a new face to board shorts, making a pair something that is as fun to wear for comfort as it is for cover.

    Don’t stop there, either. Are there sunglasses that go well with your cultivated beach look? Per-haps a hat that you feel confident and relaxed in? Incorporate them into the ensemble. Most of the time, the places we’re headed in a bathing suit are designed to relax and decompress us. Any additional pieces you can add to the ensemble that make you feel confident and carefree, are al-ways a welcome addition.

    Launder Them Carefully

    Our bathing suits serve a far different purpose than most of our wardrobes, and their makeup–– stretchy fabrics and tight stitching––is different because of it, but the downside of that flexibility. It’s far more delicate than clothing designed to be worn often and under less harsh conditions.

    Swimwear takes a beating, and should be treated with enough care between uses to counteract the near-abuse it takes when we wear it. Between the repetitive motion we subject it to through swimming, surfing, or other water sports, and the elements it gets exposed to (sun, salt, pool chemicals, sunscreen, etc.), it needs to be laundered carefully. “Dry clean only” it is not, but the care you put into your suit will directly affect how long it fits well and for how long you can keep it.

    Some of our favorite tips for protecting your hard-earned swimsuits include hand-washing with a combination of cold water, detergent, and white vinegar, letting them dry indoors rather than out in the sun or the dryer (as the sun can cause damage to the fabric), ensuring that they get a wash even if you don’t get wet (sunscreen can cause damage too, so make sure any traces are washed away), and avoiding metal rods when letting them dry (too long on these rods could create rust marks, which are incredibly difficult to remove from an already delicate fabric).

    Ready? Now Go Get Yours

    We love this time of year––with swimsuit shopping season comes the first whisper of a fun, ac-tive summer peeking around the corner. It’s our hope that it isn’t a time that comes with the dread and anxiety that you normally take with you to stores and dressing rooms. Have fun with the many options that swimwear designers have created; use this time to play around with prints, cuts, accessories, and the other items that will have you looking forward to a fun few months blanketed in sun and surf.

  • The Indisputable GOAT in Surfing

    Since the day Duke Kahanamoku became the ambassador of surfing, sharing the laid-back yet competitive, zen-like sport with the rest of the world, there is a rich history of talented, world class surfers. Whether you judge by style, power, giant waves, or short boards, the criteria do not matter. There is only one Greatest of All Time in the sport of surfing.

    Amazing people have influenced the world of surfing, forever leaving their mark on the sport and changing it forever. Nick Galbadon was the first surfer to begin breaking down the race barrier by surfing the waters on all “white” beaches. Segregation knew no bounds, and surfing was no exception. However, he was extremely talented, and he became more accepted over time.

    Lisa Anderson shattered the glass ceiling for women in surfing with her powerful style. She wanted to show the world that she could surf like a man, taking on big waves and having the same strength and endurance. Not only did she prove she could, but she was beautiful to watch. Her strides paved the way for women across the world and put women's surfing on the map.

    The birth of pro surfing can be attributed to Wayne Bartholomew. He was an incredibly talented and stylish surfer who realized there was money to be made of sponsorships and organized competition. He was one of the first surfers ever to be paid for the sport.

    Perhaps some may argue that Tom Curren deserves the GOAT title, and, if you are a purist, you would be right. He epitomized the surfing culture of anti-establishment, free spirited living. Not to mention, he proved his competitive worth on the waves with his world championships titles. Certainly, it could be argued that he is the best in the sport.

    However, there is one name who rises above them all—the first household name in the sport, a worldwide recognized athlete with ELEVEN world champion titles to his name. His career has spanned over 20 years, and some say he is the greatest athlete, outperforming the likes of Michael Jordan and others in that elite category. Kelly Slater is by far the GOAT in surfing, and perhaps greatest athlete the world has ever seen.

    It isn't only his incredible prowess on the waves, his endurance that led him to a world championship at 39, nor his undeniable talent riding big waves. All of these are widely accepted facts, but they aren't what make him the greatest.

    The nature of surfing is changing and will never be the same again. When Kelly Slater won his first championship in 1992, the internet was barely known, car phones and cell phones (the big clunky portable telephones that weighed 5 lbs.) were for businessmen, politicians, and drug dealers only. People got their news from TV, newspapers, and magazines. The only way you could find out about Kelly Slater was from movies or magazines and an occasional airing of a surf competition on TV.

    Today, the world is saturated with amazingly gifted surfers from every corner of the world. With the ability to share videos, pictures, and news globally in seconds, the spotlight is no longer focused on a single competition in Pipeline or any other world-renown surfing haunts. From weekend warriors to the pros, from the beaches of California to the reefs of Thailand, surfers around the globe post videos of epic rides every day.

    The world of surfing has changed dramatically and permanently, as most of our lives have, because of technology advances. Kelly Slater may hold more titles and is arguably a gift from the heavens to give every surfer inspiration and an exceptional role model, but what about the no-name fifty-year old surfer living in the jungles near Patong Beach?

    The world has been blessed to witness the greatness of Kelly Slater; no one can argue that fact. He is essentially the last, singular greatest surfer that we have had the privilege and honor to watch and be inspired by in the history of surfing.

  • Wave Dynamics: A Brief Introduction on Types of Waves

    Big wave

     

    Surfing is a rush, and nothing beats catching a wave. You’re sailing, steering, flying. It’s bliss on another level.

    There are many types of waves in the ocean, all with their own unique identities. We want to share with you a brief introduction on the types of waves that, as a surfer, you can catch. It’s useful information for anyone, but particularly for the amateur surfer, who will eventually know this information like clockwork.

    There are three main types of breaks. All waves generally fall into one of three: beach break, reef break, and point break.

    1. Beach break:

      These waves are formed on the sandy beach and vary depending on how the sand shifts. The swell of energy connects with the sand and produces a wave that varies in power and length of ride. It’s dependent on the movement of the sand, which requires a strong knowledge of the banks to know when you’ll get a quality wave.   A few well-known beach breaks are Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica, La Graviere in Hossegor, France, and Supertubos in Portugal.

    1. Reef break:

      These waves break on rock and coral on the ocean bed, and are more consistent in the size of the wave. Waves can be larger and more powerful because the power of the energy produced from the swell and rocks, and/or reef, can unload violently on the shallow rocks of the reef. Waves can also unload quickly, which is dangerous if you’re a novice surfer and not expecting it. Advanced surfers have been known to like reef breaks because of the large wave that is produced. Well-known reef breaks include Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii and the Mentawai islands of Indonesia.

    1. Point break:

      Even for a beginner, this term might be familiar because of the famous Keanu Reeves film from the early 90s. This wave is formed when swell energy interacts with a point of land that juts out from the coast. Ocean beds for point breaks can be with sand, coral, rock or cobblestones. Point break waves are safer, in that they maintain their energy and size, and they characteristically create long waves that last for a while. Point breaks are popular because they allow surfers to ride out a less powerful wave for a long period of time. Famous point breaks include Snapper Rocks in Australia, Rincon in California, and Barra de la Cruz in Mexico.

    There are a number of different waves resulting from these breaks. Let’s start with the wildest and most difficult first: the double up.

    A double up is when two separate waves align at their crests and troughs. This energy can create a massive and powerful wave. It does hollow out easily and is therefore very dangerous. Yet, they have been known to produce once-in-a-lifetime experiences because of this characteristic. Ride at your own risk. Because they hollow out easily, they can be difficult to control even for the most experienced surfers.

    Tubes/Hollow waves are a type of wave created when the water pitches over the surfer so that the surfer is enclosed in the space between the water. It is an experience sought out by many. The surfer is enclosed in a small space, and the only way out is through the opening in front of the surfer. These waves first move through deep water, and then finish out in shallow water. Tropical reefs are popular for producing quality hollow waves because of their position near the Pacific Ocean, which produces powerful swells.

    Reform waves are waves that first go through deep water before reforming back into a swell. It is a whitewater wave with much less power than double ups and tubing waves. Reforms can be found at Second Reef Pipeline in Hawaii, for example, and Huntington Beach, California.

    Also called “mushy” waves, a crumbly is a good wave for a beginner. They are safe to wipeout on because the contour along the bottom is more gradual. Crumbly waves are also more forgiving because their speed is not as fast, and they aren’t as hollow or steep as other waves tend to be.

    Closeouts are waves that break before they peel. They create whitewater and can’t be surfed.

    So, next time you’re out surfing, especially for the beginner who is developing his or her skills for the sport, you can better determine what types of waves the ocean is producing.

    Surf Outfitter carries a variety of apparel and swimwear for women and men that is perfect for your style..

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